Crypto Use in Emerging Markets Driven by Necessity: KuCoin Labs Head


The proliferation of cryptocurrencies around the world has been driven by different use cases, highlighting key differences between developed and emerging market environments.

Lou Yu, head of KuCoin Labs, tackled the topic after a keynote address during the second day of Blockchain Economy Istanbul in Turkey. In an exclusive interview with TBEN, Yu shared her experience working with various projects and companies around the world and the key differences between primary and secondary markets.

TBEN editor Erhan Karahman interviews KuCoin Labs head Lou Yu at Blockchain Economy Istanbul.

Operating in more than 200 countries worldwide, Kucoin is well placed to provide insight into trading habits and trends, as well as innovations in the space, as it lists, invests and supports various cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused projects.

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Yu noted that trading communities are mostly active in emerging markets, more so than their developed counterparts, which are less active despite superior amounts of capital. While these emerging markets often use cryptocurrencies, projects from these areas should better target their services to local markets:

“We’re seeing all the data here from secondary markets and we think it’s more relevant that local projects benefit the local economy, not just bring products to the United States to help merchants there, for example.”

The potential for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to address unique challenges in emerging markets has been a theme at Blockchain Economy Istanbul and Yu also believes that industry-forming projects could emerge from developing countries.

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The head of KuCoin Labs highlighted the tendency of developed markets such as Europe and the United States to use blockchain primarily for cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, emerging markets are using the technology not only to use and trade cryptocurrencies, but also to build tools and products to solve pesky problems:

“It’s a hobby for developed markets, a necessity for emerging markets. In emerging countries, people lack many tools and infrastructure and are likely to be limited by language, political, geographic, technological and economic barriers.”

Yu said emerging countries need more of the basic infrastructure in Web3 to solve problems Web2 doesn’t have. She also noted that a large portion of the KuCoin Labs portfolio is made up of projects from developed countries. The projects that do come from emerging countries do not focus on offering their products or services to their local market, but rather focus on addressing and serving the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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Yu emphasized that the incubator is focused on connecting the ecosystem by working with other exchanges, launch pads, and layer 1 and layer 2 protocols. Financial investment in emerging market projects is a focal point, in addition to networking and building potential business partnerships.